Above Avalon Episode 134: Let's Talk Netflix

The Netflix machine seems unstoppable. Strong paid subscriber growth and rising content budgets have given Netflix a commanding lead in the paid video streaming market. However, change is in the air. Episode 134 is dedicated to discussing Netflix’s business model and why calls suggesting Netflix has won the paid video streaming war are grossly premature. Additional topics include Netflix’s keys to success, upcoming paid video streaming competitors, lessons from the music streaming industry, and things to watch out for in paid video streaming over the coming years. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon member and receiving exclusive daily updates. To become a member, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Netflix Isn’t Invincible (weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 133: The Big Picture from Steve Jobs Theater

Last week, Apple Watch was the star of Apple’s second major product event at Steve Jobs Theater. Episode 133 is focused on looking at the big picture following Apple’s event. The discussion begins by going over Tim Cook’s comments regarding Apple’s mission statement and then quickly puts the iPhone and Apple Watch updates into context. We then turn to my Grand Unified Theory of Apple Products. Additional topics include my user base estimates for Apple’s various product categories, my rationale for why Apple Watch and Apple Glasses will one day have a larger user base than iPhone will, and the power associated with new form factors that are capable of handling new tasks. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon member and receiving exclusive daily updates. To become a member, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Connecting the Apple Dots (weekly article)

Episode 44: The Grand Unified Theory of Apple Products (podcast)

Apple Glasses Are Inevitable (weekly article)

Apple Event Review (daily update)

User base estimates for Apple’s various product categories (daily updates)

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Above Avalon Episode 132: Titan vs. Tesla

In episode 132, we take a closer look at Apple's Project Titan. The discussion begins by going over the signs pointing to Apple expanding Titan initiatives in recent months. We then turn to Apple's goal with Titan and the automobile's changing value proposition. Tesla enters the discussion as we look at why the company isn't a realistic acquisition target for Apple. Additional topics include Tesla's struggles, poaching, Doug Field's move from Tesla to Titan, and the most interesting things to watch for in the auto space. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon member and receiving exclusive daily updates. To become a member, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Poaching Tesla (weekly article)

Map of various Project Titan buildings and land (daily update)

Doug Field Joins Project Titan (daily update)

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Above Avalon Episode 131: Growth Drivers

Apple's latest growth story is driven by three drivers: iPhone, Services, and Wearables. In episode 131, we discuss these three growth drivers to see how they are not created equal. After going over the factors fueling Apple's growth drivers, we spend time discussing how Apple's growth story may change in the near term. The episode concludes with a big picture overview of why Apple's long-term growth story won't just be about Services. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon member and receiving exclusive daily updates. To become a member, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Apple's Growth Story (weekly article)

Episode 126: Let's Talk Apple Services (podcast)

iPhone Installed and User Base Estimates (daily update)

Apple Watch Installed and User Base Estimates (daily update)

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Above Avalon Episode 130: What's a Computer?

Episode 130 is dedicated to discussing how Apple has become comfortable in accepting, and even embracing, the awkwardness that exists between the iPad and Mac. The discussion begins with a closer look at the fascinating juxtaposition between Apple's recent Mac campaign and its iPad ads from earlier this year. We go over what the ads tell us about Apple's thought process regarding the iPad and Mac. Things then turn to how the iPad vs. Mac juxtaposition hasn't been static over the years. After briefly recapping the post-PC era debate, the episode concludes with my thoughts on where Apple will bring the iPad and Mac platforms and why the company faces a large screen paradox. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon member and receiving exclusive daily updates. To become a member, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The iPad vs. Mac Juxtaposition (weekly article)

Behind the Mac - Mac ad (YouTube) 

What's a computer - iPad Pro ad (YouTube)

Homework - iPad ad (YouTube)

Apple 3Q18 Earnings Preview (daily updates)

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Above Avalon Episode 129: Giants on Wall Street

A select group of corporate giants have been gaining influence and investor dollars on Wall Street. Episode 129 is dedicated to discussing today's corporate giants (Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Facebook) including the key differences and similarities between the five. The second half of the episode goes over why I think odds are good that today's giants won't be tomorrow's giants. The episode concludes with a closer look at Apple's quest to do the seemingly impossible - remain relevant. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon member and receiving exclusive daily updates. To become a member, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Race to a Trillion (weekly article)

Episode 123: Apple's New Wall Street Story (podcast) 

Valuing Wall Street Giants (daily update)

Episode 122: An Apple R&D Bonanza (podcast)

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Above Avalon Episode 128: Figuring Out What's Next

One of the major takeaways from this year's WWDC keynote was found with something not announced on stage. Apple finds itself announcing new technologies that make more sense on form factors that don't yet exist. Episode 128 includes a discussion of this year's WWDC, which demonstrated how Apple is figuring out what comes next. After quickly recapping the major WWDC 2018 announcements, Neil discusses how Apple is setting the stage for smart glasses. The second half of the episode goes over Apple's motivation for looking beyond current success to figure out what's next. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week by becoming an Above Avalon subscriber and receiving exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Apple Is Figuring Out What's Next (weekly article)

Episode 126: Let's Talk Apple Services (podcast) 

Episode 103: Apple Glasses Are Inevitable (podcast) 

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Above Avalon Episode 127: Let's Go Behind the Scenes

Last week, Neil celebrated the third anniversary of launching Above Avalon subscriptions. Episode 127 provides a behind-the-scenes look at Above Avalon and includes a discussion of Neil's business model and the broader paid subscription industry. Neil then goes over some of the highlights and challenges from the first three years of Above Avalon subscriptions. The episode concludes with a closer look at Above Avalon's place in the Apple blogosphere and the major changes that have unfolded in the space. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Above Avalon Subscriptions Turn Three (weekly article)

Episode 82: Above Avalon 101 (podcast) 

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Above Avalon Episode 126: Let's Talk Apple Services

Apple's services business is remarkably strong yet surprisingly mysterious. A closer look at Apple Services reveals an apparatus, which can easily qualify as a Fortune 100 company, that isn't what it seems from the outside. In episode 126, Neil puts together a few pieces of the Apple Services puzzle. After going over the five categories that comprise Apple Services, Neil goes over his financial estimates for each category. This leads to an overview of Apple's Services strategy and a look ahead at where Services growth will likely originate. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Apple Services Machine (weekly Above Avalon article)

Episode 75: The Apple Services Myth (Above Avalon podcast) 

Demystifying Apple Services, Apple Services and Hardware Dependency, Estimating Apple's Paid Subscription Mix (Above Avalon daily email)

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Above Avalon Episode 125: How's the iPhone X Doing?

In this special edition episode of the Above Avalon podcast, Neil goes over Apple's 2Q18 earnings. The discussion is dedicated to analyzing iPhone results. Along with going over his iPhone X sales estimates, Neil discusses the latest iPhone ASP and iPhone channel inventory adjustment trends. The episode concludes with Neil's theory as to why iPhone supply chain rumors have been off when it comes to iPhone X. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Goldilocks Era for iPhone Has Begun (weekly article)

My 2Q18 Apple earnings review - major themes and full notes (available exclusively to Above Avalon subscribers)

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Above Avalon Episode 124: Doubling the Buyback

In Episode 124, Neil discusses how Apple's capital allocation goals will require the company to double the pace of share buyback from current levels. The episode begins by going over the various updates Apple has pushed through to its share buyback and cash dividends. Attention then turns to Apple's excess cash position, which plays a key role in any discussion involving capital return. The episode concludes with Neil going over one possible path Apple can follow to reach an optimal capital strategy in a timely manner. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Making the Case for Doubling Apple's Share Buyback Pace (weekly article)

The End to Apple's Cash Dilemma (weekly article) 

Above Avalon Episode 59: Apple Dividends (podcast)

My 2Q18 Apple earnings preview (available exclusively to Above Avalon subscribers)

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Above Avalon Episode 123: Apple's New Wall Street Story

Episode 123 takes a closer look at Apple's capital allocation story on Wall Street. After discussing why narratives are so important on Wall Street, Neil goes over the core tenets of a capital allocation story and how the narrative does a good job of describing Apple's design-led culture. Neil then goes over a number of implications found with Apple possessing a capital allocation narrative on Wall Street. The episode concludes with a discussion regarding Apple's valuation trends relative to the market. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Above Avalon Episode 102: Apple Cash Influence (podcast)

Apple Found a Wall Street Narrative (Above Avalon weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 122: An Apple R&D Bonanza

After a brief lull, Apple's R&D expenditures are once again exploding higher. In Episode 122, Neil analyzes the latest Apple R&D trends. After discussing three drivers for R&D growth, Neil goes over the two new products likely responsible for the recent surge in R&D expenditures. The episode concludes with Neil's grand theory on Apple R&D. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

An Apple R&D Bonanza (Above Avalon weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 121: Controlling Sound

In Episode 121, Neil discusses Apple's strategy for controlling sound in our lives. The discussion begins by going over Apple's motivation for controlling sound and the central role music plays in it. The episode then turns to the two parts of Apple's strategy: sound on the go and sound in the home. Neil goes over how iPod, iPhone, AirPods, and now HomePod, play a role in Apple's strategy for controlling sound. The episode concludes with a few reasons why Apple's sound in the home strategy appears to be much more precarious than its sound on the go plans. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Apple's Strategy for Controlling Sound (Above Avalon weekly article)

Steve Jobs introduces original iPod (YouTube)

The first iPod commercial (YouTube)

Steve Jobs introduces the iPod Hi-Fi (YouTube - starts at 12-minute mark)

HomePod - Welcome Home by Spike Jonze (YouTube)

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Above Avalon Episode 120: An iPhone Turning Point

Episode 120 is focused on how Apple's dramatic change in strategy regarding larger iPhones was driven by the realization that iPad mini was the wrong bet. After discussing the early iPad years, Neil goes over the background behind how the iPad mini came to be. Neil then discusses how Apple found itself flat-footed with larger smartphone screens and how a different perspective toward smartphones and tablets ultimately led Apple to a stronger iPhone vision and strategy. The episode concludes with three lessons to be taken from the situation. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The iPhone's Turning Point (Above Avalon weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 119: The iPhone's Goldilocks Era

The unit sales growth era that had defined iPhone for years is over. Episode 119 is dedicated to discussing the iPhone's new era that can best be characterized as status quo. After discussing iPhone sales trends, Neil goes over six headwinds that have come together to create a much less friendly iPhone sales growth environment. The discussion turns to how the dynamic between the two main iPhone sales drivers show a more resilient business. Neil then goes over how key iPhone fundamentals will trend during the Goldilocks era. The episode concludes with a look at the risks and wildcards to the iPhone business. Receive Neil's analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

The Goldilocks Era for iPhone Has Begun (Above Avalon weekly article)

The Goldilocks Era for iPhone, Apple's Lack of iPhone Visibility, Thursday Q&A (daily update for subscribers)

Apple 1Q18 Earnings Review (daily update for subscribers)

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Above Avalon Episode 118: Apple Watch Is a Bridge to the Future

Something is changing when it comes to the way people are thinking about Apple Watch. We are witnessing nothing short of a revolution with Apple Watch. In Episode 118, Neil discusses how Apple Watch has become a bridge between the present and future. The device holds the potential to become more disruptive to the current computing paradigm than even Apple may want to acknowledge. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily updates. To subscribe, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Links:

Apple Watch Is a Bridge to the Future (Above Avalon weekly article)

Apple Watch & Apple Music ad (YouTube)

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Above Avalon Episode 117: Lots of Questions

January is a great time to embrace the unknown found with a new year. Episode 117 is focused on going over my list of questions for Apple in 2018. We cover more than 60 questions on subjects that range from Apple's major product categories to various managerial and organizational topics. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

Apple Questions for 2018 (weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 116: Grading Apple's 2017

Episode 116 is dedicated to reviewing Apple's performance in 2017. After briefly discussing my methodology for grading Apple, we discuss the various milestones and issues that impacted the company in 2017. My grading process is broken into seven categories (iPad, Apple Watch, iPhone, Mac, Accessories, Services, Financial Strategy). The episode concludes with my overall grade for Apple in 2017 and a few closing thoughts on what turned out to be a very busy year for management. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

Grading Apple's 2017 (weekly article)

Apple Publishes Message About iPhone Throttling (member email)

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Above Avalon Episode 115: Betting on Hardware

Apple isn't a hardware company. Nevertheless, hardware's importance to Apple continues to grow. Episode 115 is dedicated to discussing Apple's growing bet on hardware. The episode begins by going over Apple's hardware strategy and includes a brief history of Apple's approach to hardware. The discussion then turns to Apple's hardware scale as we go over the company's overall product sales. We conclude with how Apple is doubling down on hardware in order to become the most powerful software provider in the wearables era. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.   

Show Notes:

Apple's Growing Bet on Hardware (weekly article)

Above Avalon Podcast archive 

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